Australia ‘integral’ in secret jail

The Age, 9 February 2012:

AUSTRALIA was an ”integral” element of the potentially illegal detention of prisoners of war at a secret Iraqi desert prison in 2003, according to a US military document.

News of the document has led an Australian human rights organisation investigating such secret prisons to say the Australian military may have been complicit in war crimes by handing detainees over to the so-called ”black site”.

The allegations in the document were denied last night by the Defence Department, which said Australia was only ”providing security” when the detainees were handed over.

The secret prisons, which became infamous after the 2003 Abu Ghraib scandal, were used by a US military unit codenamed Taskforce 6-26 to interrogate enemy fighters believed to hold important information.

According to a 2006 New York Times investigation, detainees at such prisons were beaten, waterboarded, spat on and tortured.

Up to this point, Australia has never been accused of involvement in such incidents.

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